We begin 2020 with this fabulous collection of Stokowski's French music broadcasts with the NBC SO, in which we've managed to squeeze (almost) everything they broadcast onto a single CD. We have the conductor's arrangement of La cathédrale engloutie along with three other Debussy performances: two excerpts from Le Martyre de saint Sébastien, the Prélude à l'apès-midi d'un faune and another magical Stokowski arrangement of music written for the piano, La soirée dans Grenade from Estampes. We also have the New York première of Darius Milhaud's First Symphony, written in 1939, and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2.
All were recorded from broadcasts made in 1943 and 1944 and comprise Stokowski's entire French music broadcasts with the NBC orchestra, barring one repeat performance of the Faune. One of the many interesting aspects of Stokowski's three-season tenure with the NBC Symphony was the extraordinary amount of new music he programmed. Perhaps even more remarkable was that he played many such works just once for a single radio broadcast but never returned to them. The selected 'Symphonic Fragments' from Debussy's "Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien" are a case in point, as is Darius Milhaud's 1st Symphony.